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YouTube Announces AI Music Principles And Launches YouTube Music AI Incubator With Artists, Songwriters and Producers from Universal Music Group

Today YouTube published a first ever set of AI music principles and launched the YouTube Music AI Incubator, kicking off with artists, songwriters and producers from Universal Music Group. YouTube’s three fundamental AI music principles are rooted in its commitment to collaborate with the music industry alongside bold and responsible innovation in the space.

YouTube CEO, Neal Mohan, shared the platform’s AI music principles and his vision for how the framework will enhance creative expression while also protecting artists on the platform. The principles include:

  • Principle #1: AI is here, and we will embrace it responsibly together with our music partners. As generative AI unlocks ambitious new forms of creativity, YouTube and our partners across the music industry agree to build on our long collaborative history and responsibly embrace this rapidly advancing field.  Our goal is to partner with the music industry to empower creativity in a way that enhances our joint pursuit of responsible innovation. 

  • Principle #2: AI is ushering in a new age of creative expression, but it must include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners who decide to participate. We’re continuing our strong track record of protecting the creative work of artists on YouTube. We’ve made massive investments over the years in the systems that help balance the interests of copyright holders with those of the creative community on YouTube.

  • Principle #3: We’ve built an industry-leading trust and safety organization and content policies. We will scale those to meet the challenges of AI. We spent years investing in the policies and trust and safety teams that help protect the YouTube community, and we’re also applying these safeguards to AI-generated content. Generative AI systems may amplify current challenges like trademark and copyright abuse, misinformation, spam, and more. But AI can also be used to identify this sort of content, and we’ll continue to invest in the AI-powered technology that helps us protect our community of viewers, creators, artists and songwriters–from Content ID to policies and detection and enforcement systems that keep our platform safe behind the scenes. And we commit to scaling this work even further.

In a rare guest YouTube blog Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge – who helped shape the principles – shared his vision for an artist centric approach to generative AI and how partnering with YouTube would best position the music industry for success as this technology continues to develop. Excerpts from the blog post include: 

  • “Our challenge and opportunity as an industry is to establish effective tools, incentives and rewards – as well as rules of the road – that enable us to limit AI’s potential downside while promoting its promising upside. If we strike the right balance, I believe AI will amplify human imagination and enrich musical creativity in extraordinary new ways.”

  • “Our enduring faith in human creativity is the bedrock of Universal Music Group’s collaboration with YouTube on the future of AI. Central to our collective vision is taking steps to build a safe, responsible and profitable ecosystem of music and video—one where artists and songwriters have the ability to maintain their creative integrity, their power to choose, and to be compensated fairly.”

  • “Today, our partnership is building on that foundation with a shared commitment to lead responsibly, as outlined in YouTube’s AI principles, where Artificial Intelligence is built to empower human creativity, and not the other way around.  AI will never replace human creativity because it will always lack the essential spark that drives the most talented artists to do their best work, which is intention. From Mozart to The Beatles to Taylor Swift, genius is never random.”

Today’s announcement also introduced YouTube’s AI Music Incubator, a program that will bring together some of today’s most innovative artists, songwriters, and producers to help inform YouTube’s approach to generative AI in music. The incubator will kick off with a genre-spanning cohort of creatives from Universal Music Group, that includes Anitta, Björn Ulvaeus, d4vd, Don Was, Juanes, Louis BellMax RichterRodney JerkinsRosanne CashRyan TedderYo Gotti, and the Estate of Frank Sinatra, amongst others. 

  • Björn Ulvaeus shares: “While some may find my decision controversial, I’ve joined this group with an open mind and purely out of curiosity about how an AI model works and what it could be capable of in a creative process. I believe that the more I understand, the better equipped I’ll be to advocate for and to help protect the rights of my fellow human creators.”

  • Juanes shares: “Music is fundamental to the human experience – culturally and personally. For artists, our music is part of who we are. Given music’s role, artists must play a central role in helping to shape the future of this technology.  I’m looking forward to working with Google and YouTube as part of this influential group of UMG artists to assure that AI develops responsibly as a tool to empower artists and that it is used respectfully and ethically in ways that amplify human musical expression for generations to come.”

  • Max Richter shares: Like every new technology, AI brings with it opportunities, but it also raises profound challenges for the creative community. The tech world and the music distribution ecosystem are quickly evolving to embrace this transformative technology and, unless artists are part of this process, there is no way to ensure that our interests will be taken into account. We have to be in this conversation, or our voices won’t be heard. Therefore, I’m very happy to be part of the “artist incubator” which will allow me to advocate for the interests of the creative community in the applications of AI to music and music distribution.”